The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences
By Bowery Boys Media
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From the automobile to the rocket ship, from chewing gum to the TV dinner, from the first face in a photograph to the first voice on the telephone, the world has been forever changed by impossible technologies and startling ideas. But these inventions do not always make the world a better place. These are the stories of The First, a podcast exploring the history of human innovation, focusing less on iconic inventors and more on the forgotten geniuses and everyday people that were responsible for bringing us the tools of the modern world. Brought to you by Greg Young of the Bowery Boys podcast.
||CleanThe First Apartment Building in America (A Stuyvesant Story)||Apartment living is something we take for granted today, the option for those who can't afford or don't desire a private home. But how did this type of living situation become popular in the United States? In mid-19th century New York, people lived in..||1/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Lost Highway: America's First Cross Country Road||In 1900, there were about 8,000 registered automobiles in the United States. They were a genuine novelty. Those that attempted to go on 'road trips' met with a frustrating reality -- there were no drivable roads, no unified road maps, no nation-wide...||12/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHow Electric Light Changed Christmas Forever||That string of multi-colored Christmas lights wrapped around your tree (or your house) is far more influential to American history than you might think. The first electric Christmas lights debuted in 1882, shortly after the invention of the...||12/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Plant Doctor: The Extraordinary George Washington Carver||How much do you know about George Washington Carver, the man born into slavery who became America’s most famous botanist in the first half of the 20th century? He didn’t discover the peanut, a legume commonplace in the human diet for thousands of...||10/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Real Housewives of Early America: The Story of the First American Cookbook||“Over the river and through the woods” into the history of early American cuisine. The first published European cookbooks in the world weren’t meant to enshrine ideal meals but rather to inform a woman of her place in the household with...||9/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Rebel: America's Founding Inventor||Benjamin Franklin was the most famous American in the world by the time of the Revolutionary War, known as a writer, inventor and philosopher. But as an old man, he would earn another title -- rebel. By the time of the Boston Massacre, Dr. Franklin...||8/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLightning Strikes: Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Experiment||How much do you know about one of the most famous scientific experiments in American history? In 1752 Benjamin Franklin and his son William performed a dangerous act of experimentation, conjuring one of nature's most lethal powers from the air itself...||8/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFranklin Gothic: The Invention of Benjamin Franklin||Benjamin Franklin did more in his first forty years than most people do in an entire lifetime. Had he not played a pivotal role in the creation of the United States of America, he still would have been considered an icon in the fields of publishing,...||7/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Secret History of Soft Drinks: A Tale In Four Flavors||There is something very, very bizarre about a can of soda. How did this sugary, bubbly beverage – dark brown, or neon orange, or grape, or whatever color Mountain Dew is – how did THIS become such an influential force in American...||6/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Devil and The First Broadway Musical||The Black Crook is considered the first-ever Broadway musical, a dizzying, epic-length extravaganza of ballerinas, mechanical sets, lavish costumes and a storyline about the Devil straight out of a twisted hallucination. The show took New York by...||6/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Bowery Wizards: A History of Early American Tattoos||The art of tattooing is as old as written language but it would require the contributions of a few 19th century New York tattoo artists -- and a young inventor with no tattoos whatsoever -- to take this ancient art to the next level. This is the story..||5/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe First Song Ever Recorded||Imagine if we could hear the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria or Frederick Douglass? Believe it or not, somebody was making audio recordings as far back as the 1850s. This is the story of the first audio recordings ever made and the oldest...||5/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJosephine and the Dish-Washing Machine||Of the tens of thousands of U.S. patents granted in the 19th century, only a small fraction were held by women. One of those women -- Josephine Cochrane -- would change the world by solving a simple household problem. While throwing lavish dinner...||4/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanNikola Tesla and the Wireless World||The Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla is known as one of the fathers of electricity, the curious genius behind alternating current (AC), the victor in the so-called War of the Currents. But in this episode of The First, starting in the year 1893,...||3/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Big Story of Old Bet: The First Circus Elephant||This year marks the end to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and, with it, the end of the traditional American circus. Once at the core of the American circus was the performing elephant. Today we understand that such...||3/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanUnimate and the Rise of the Robots||Robots conjure up thoughts of distant technological landscapes and even apocalyptic scenarios, but the truth is, robots are a very old creation, tracing back to the ancient world. We can thank science fiction writers for inventing new and...||2/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Revolution: The Story of the First Bikini||In 1907, the professional swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Massachusetts beach for wearing a revealing bathing suit -- a skin-tight black ensemble which covered most of her body. Less than forty years later, in 1946, the owner of a...||2/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThis Morbid Invention: The First Electric Chair||The harnessing of electricity by the great inventors of the Gilded Age introduced the world to the miracle of light at all hours of the day. But exposure to electricity's raw power was dangerous to man and a few thought this useful...||1/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Cow and The Country Boy (The First Vaccine)||This is the story of the first vaccine, perhaps one of the greatest inventions in modern human history. Starring -- a country doctor with a love of birds, a milkmaid with translucent skin, an eight-year-old boy with no idea what he's in for and a...||1/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMaking the Pledge of Allegiance||The Pledge of Allegiance feels like an American tradition that traces itself back to the Founding Fathers, but, in fact, it's turning 125 years old in 2017. This is the story of the invention of the Pledge, a set of words that have come to embody the...||12/16/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Calling: Thomas Watson and the First Telephone||You may know the story of Alexander Graham Bell and his world famous invention. You may know that Bell made the very first phone call. But do you know the story of the man who ANSWERED that call? His name was Thomas Augustus Watson. He met Bell when...||12/1/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEvery Day Is Thanksgiving: The History of the TV Dinner||American eating habits were transformed in the early 20th century with innovations in freezing and refrigeration, allowing all kinds of foods to be shipped across the country and stored for long periods of time. But it would actually be the...||11/18/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMiss Draper: The First Woman Ever Photographed||Dorothy Catherine Draper is a truly forgotten figure in American history. She was the first woman to ever sit for a photograph -- a daguerrotype, actually, in the year 1840, upon the rooftop of the school which would...||11/3/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Wheel: Ferris' Big Idea||01: The first Ferris Wheel was invented to become America’s Eiffel Tower, making its grand debut at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. The wheel’s inventor George Washington Gale Ferris was a clever and optimistic soul; he did everything in his...||10/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTRAILER Introducing The First||A preview of The First, a new podcast series from Greg Young of the Bowery Boys: New York City History, examining the birth of inventions and the people whose lives were immediately affected. thefirstpodcast.com||10/10/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
Interesting and Engrossing Look at History
Being a big fan of The Bowery Boys' New York City history podcast, I subscribed to this first-ever companion show with some pretty high expectations. But what host Greg Young has created exceeds even what I hoped for in this engrossing look at inventions and their consequences — including some twists and turns you may never see coming.
Young mixes beautiful storytelling with elements of radio drama to convey historical events in a way that's completely human and totally absorbing. It's not a play, though you meet characters along the way and hear them come alive with their own words. It's not an audiobook, though it contains the kind of information you'd find in the best of them. And the format makes you look at seemingly ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
I'd usually wait for several more episodes before writing a review, and that's the only caveat here. On the other hand, The Bowery Boys podcast has been uniformly strong over more than 200 episodes, and there's no reason to believe "The First" won't enjoy that same kind of success.
I'm excited for the new podcast!!
I'm a huge history podcast fan a Bowery Boys fan! I have listened to the podcast for years and I am loving the new podcast! I am a Chicago girl and I loved that you got out of NYC to visit my home town. I can't wait to hear more history from around the world. Keep up the good work. 😀
Excellent new podcast
I've enjoyed the informative Bowery Boys podcast for years, and this new podcast sounds like similarly engaging history and humor.